I heard a perfect echo die,
Into an anonymous wall of digital sound.
Somewhere deep inside,
Of my soul.
Neil Young - Natural Beauty (from Harvest Moon)
Lo-fi began as a musical aesthetic, and with momentum became a musical genre in itself.
Any great music that is so cool that it even sounds wonderful when recorded bare-bones can be called lo-fi.
Better even if it is contemporary and lo-fi, and even more better-er if it was recorded that way because it was the best gear you had access to at the time. Chris took any opportunity to record his songs, no matter the quality of the equipment available to him at the time. Thankfully.
Here are some tasty lo-fi tracks (two and four track recordings with Casio accompaniment).
2. Truce ~ a solo demo on small Casio keyboard, rough but beautiful and sad
3. Here it Comes
4. House With No Windows ~ same Casio as above, stark, great lyric
5. When the Lights Go Down ~ Peckham version. Buzz twiddling the knobs (four tracks baby)
6. Violent Style
7. Work Hard ~ another Casio relentless number
8. Down Down Down
9. Strange Lady
10. All Of The Little Things
1, 3, 6, 8, 9 - Bastedo Sessions - recorded at Lindsay Bastedo's home studio, Revox two-track open-reel, early 70s
2, 4, 7 - Solo demos on small Casio keyboard.
5 - Recorded at Buzz's Peckham four track home studio.
10 - From the "Few Gems" CD. Acoustic Ditty, recorded straight to cassette player so I didn't forget it ! Wobbly but a pretty song.
These songs are available on the OVERLOADED album on Bandcamp.com.
You can listen to them here, and download the album.
Vocals, Synths, Guitars: Chris Bradford
Just one fan's view:
Other notable lo-fo masters include Beck, Liz Phair and Ween, but those are just the ones that managed to break the mold and sell lo-fi to the masses.
Neil Young breaks all the rules as always, rejecting the 'perfection' of digital while paradoxically insisting on the higher perfection only achievable until recently on analogue vinyl. A lot of his work sounds lo-fi, but teems with richness and depth when you crank it up and listen hard. And his latest, the truly lo-fi A LETTER HOME